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knightforce
May 13th, 2014, 02:48 AM
Arlan slammed into him with a double-leg, lifting him off the ground and smashing him against the side of one of the carnival’s structures. They tore through the flimsy material of the wall, crashing into the midst of a maze of fun house mirrors. KnightMask locked on a double wrist-lock, but was unable to move his father's even slightly. Equally futile, was his attempt to leverage the hold into a means to sweep the giant off of him and on to his back. With his free hand, Arlan pounded one sledgehammer blow after another into KnightMask's side and face. KnightMask realized that he could break the hold anytime he wished...he was simply toying with him, a predator reluctant to end his fun.

For a moment, KnightMask considered transitioning the hold into a short-arm scissor or arm-bar. A spasm of back pain called to mind the power-bomb he’d received in response to his last arm-bar attempt. He was running out of options…it was time to gamble. Keeping the hold, he used it as an anchor of sorts, by which he spun out from beneath Arlan and, still maintaining the lock, used it to flip himself around to the giant's back.

At last! He’d finally gained an advantageous position! Now, at last he could—His triumphant thoughts were short lived, as he suddenly he found himself swinging through the air, to come crashing into one of the funhouse mirrors. He did a kip-up to get to his feet, but once getting there, found his legs wobbly. Arlan took him by the throat and hurled him forward, to smash into another mirror. KnightMask had just regained enough equilibrium to balance on two legs and an arm when a swipe of Arlan’s backhand knocked him into yet another mirror. This time, Arlan didn’t wait for KnightMask to get back up. Grabbing him by the ankles, he slammed him into one mirror after another before finally releasing him. In his flight, KnightMask smashed into and destroying the last remaining mirrors.

And yet he still rose up…his body lined with cuts, his consciousness flickering…and his face, at last, unmasked. Somehow, when he collided with the last mirror, it had fallen off. Arlan, having grown bored with the one-sided battle, planted his feet and clenched a fist. This time, he was actually going to put some real power into the strike.

Arlan liked to look into a victim’s eyes, either before he killed them or as they died. In a universe he deemed to be accidental in its existence and void of real meaning, the only beings that could truly be elevated to godhood were murderers in the moments they carried out their kill, when their victim looked upon them with full knowledge that they and they alone held the power of life and death. And being a god was something he enjoyed. Thus, before he delivered the blow, he sought for the battered little man’s eyes.

On finding the burning red orbs that were KnightMask’s eyes, he gave up a horrified gasp. Here was a man twisted by some awful force, to wear the features of a monster. A man who had been beaten and battered pillar to post, yet refused to yield, all for the sake of what…? A woman…? One woman…? And yet still…still, still! He went on. Behind the blazing crimson fires of his eyes, there lurked nobility…a goodness that had endured through all the worst of life’s suffering…that even now, shone through, despite his monstrous aspect. And the greatest horror of all was that, twisted and bloodied though it might be…the face upon the man’s shoulders…was his own.

His face! Then, all this time…he was wrong! It wasn’t his biological nature that created inside of him irresistible, inexorable appetites that he was forever enslaved by, unable to resist. He had agency, choices….potentials! He was imbued with the ability to be as the man who stood before him, brave, noble…charitable! He had the ability, he had the choices…and he made them! For the first time, he experienced guilt, not as a distant, abstract concept, but as something wrenching, powerful and damning. There, before him, was the man he could have been. He had made himself into a monster…he had, again and again, thrown water onto the sparks of nobility within him.

As Arlan retreated back, KnightMask looked through the piles of shattered glass that covered the ground. Though it was little more than a piece of black cloth that he drew from beneath the shards, Arlan felt a sense of growing dread as he raised the mask up…and slowly, purposefully, pulled it down over his face…their face. It was the final horror…that Arlan Gunder, murderer, rapist, thief, criminal, loan shark, drug lord, fighter, wrestler and champion…could have been something more than all those things. That Arlan Gunder’s face…could have bore the mantle…of a knight.

Arlan Gunder retreated, stumbling out from the hole he’d made in the Funhouse structure earlier. He found Natalia awaiting him, three-pronged daggers in each hand. Her sharp features no longer stirred desire in him. Her beauty was now not unlike that of the blades she held within her hands. The blaze of her brown eyes burned with menace. Arlan raised a hand to strike her down when from doorway of the Funhouse catapulted the powerful form of KnightMask. Twisting as he sailed through the air, he collided, upside down, against Arlan’s knee. Upon impact, KnightMask’s legs latched around Arlan’s thigh, while his hands wrapped about his heel, pulling it the side of his head like a strange telephone.

Extending his leg into a knee-bar was like bending back steel. And yet, it did begin to bend, slowly, subtly, before Arlan scrambled out of the lock, only to find himself then entrapped in a step-over toehold. And thus it went, Arlan fighting free of one hold after another, each escape seeing to lead him into another attack. Finally, he managed to disengage with the masked wrestler, to get to his feet. But rather than finding a reprieve, he seemed to only worsen his predicament. There seemed to be no limit to the means by which the masked man could leap, flip, roll or spin his way into a submission position. One minute they were face to face, the next minute, he was upside down, wrapped about his leg, working to torque or hyperextend it. To clinch with him, to even touch him, was to find one’s self fighting out of a hold only an instant later. It was as if Arlan’s body was a jungle-gym that the masked man was intent on destroying, piece by piece.

At least that’s how it seemed to Arlan. The truth is that his son had shifted in his approach. He’d been trying to defeat Arlan. And in fighting to win, he’d submerged that which made KnightMask most dangerous. It was his mastery of the impractical, the unorthodox that stood him out from other grapplers—his determination to be a master of all that was cool, flashy and acrobatic in grappling. It was a fool’s errand, some might say. But KnightMask had pursued that fool’s errand unrelentingly, in pursuit of becoming the most exciting submission-grappler he could be. And in mastering maneuvers that so many others had discarded as useless flash, he’d gained a set of weapons that only the very few had the means to defend against. And more importantly, in focusing on being ever more dynamic and acrobatic in his grappling, he’d emancipated himself from the fear of losing and freed himself to attack and attack…and attack.

In one, single convulsive wrench, Arlan broke free from a hold KnighMask had caught him in and bounded off. Wherever he went, KnightMask did not follow. He had no interest, he realized, in battling an unwilling foe. Not even…him. The crowd of onlookers that had gathered was silent at the sight of Arlan, the legend of Sparta City, fleeing thus.

“Hey, who was the King Kong look-alike, man?” KnightMask turned to see Crimson Cobra at his side. Natalia wheeled on him, her eyes spitting fire. “How long have you been here…? Why didn’t you help…?”

“Relax lady. I was going to, but you know, double-teaming one guy just isn’t our style. Besides, I had faith. What, you didn’t think KnightMask could take that guy? I never doubted it for a second…well, maybe for a minute, when he was using KnightMask like a baseball bat to smash those mirrors…”

“Hey,” Crimson Cobra nudged him, “You didn’t answer me…who was that guy that you were fighting…?”

KnightMask shrugged his shoulders. He was nobody he knew...not really. His mother had been one woman among thousands...and he, one of her children. Children? No...that wasn't the right word. It was too personal...and there was nothing personal about it. He was Arlan's progeny. That was all.

“Just some stranger….?” Cobra asked. KnightMask nodded. A stranger. A stranger with my face.

DSSAtkinson
May 13th, 2014, 08:03 PM
Hi knightforce! Just a few pointers from a random set of eyes...
I enjoy reading action in a story and this scene had plenty of it, the problem with a stand alone passage like this is I have no idea what your characters look like when they are fighting, making the opening paragraph particularly confusing. If this is a scene after introductions have already been made to the characters involved however I'd imagine it'll be pretty intense and impressive! I like a lively imagination.
It's difficult to tell from whose perspective the scene is being seen from which can at times add to the confusion, but again with a stand alone piece it's hard to tell anything about the larger work.
Overall the pace was great, Arland's confusion in the middle and KnightMask's realisation of the same thing at the end leaves a mystery to the reader.
As for the writing word for word (unless intended here) be careful of repetitive phrases 'at last... at last' and the sentence 'In his flight, KnightMask smashed into and destroying the last remaining mirrors' doesn't read well to me.
DSS

knightforce
May 13th, 2014, 08:41 PM
Yeah, this is taken from the middle of the story, after the characters have been introduced. I figured just to throw in an excerpt so as to not make it too long. BTW, yes, that sentence you quoted is a complete and utter mess!

One basic notion, which I suppose isn't introduced necessarily in the excerpt, is that KnightMask knows Arlan is his father but Arlan doesn't know KnightMask, namely because he never kept track of his many children and generally looks at people as objects and props.

Bard_Daniel
May 13th, 2014, 09:41 PM
This sounds pretty interesting. Almost like... and I hope your not offended by me saying this... dark comics like Frank Miller and the Spawn Series, but with mythology thrown in.

Very interesting. Would like to see more. Would also like to see it complete.

knightforce
May 13th, 2014, 10:12 PM
Oh, offense taken at all! Thanks a lot for the compliment! I mean, with masked characters and names like KnightMask and Crimson Cobra, how could I be irked at comic-book comparisons?